Dodge plans rwd Charger
By Rick Kranz
Automotive News / March 08, 2004
Dodge will add a full-sized rear-wheel-drive sedan to its lineup next year, company sources said.
The car draws inspiration from the Dodge Charger muscle car of the late 1960s, said a person familiar with the program who spoke on condition that he not be identified. He said the car likely will be called the Charger.
Spokesman Jason Vines declined comment, citing the company's policy not to talk about future products.
Sources said the sedan will be developed off the automaker's rwd LX platform, which is shared by the 2005 Chrysler 300 sedan and the Dodge Magnum wagon.
At the Geneva auto show last week, Trevor Creed, Chrysler group's chief designer, hinted that such a vehicle was planned.
"We will be looking at a very sporty version of this platform for Dodge," he said.
"However, we will not do badge engineering anymore. You will not see a Dodge version" that shares sheet metal with the Chrysler 300.
He added: "You've got to have a four-door, (but) there's no market for a coupe."
The 300 and Magnum go on sale this spring. They share about 20 percent of their parts, in terms of value, with the Mercedes-Benz C and E classes.
Hemi is the centerpiece
The 340-hp 5.7-liter Hemi V-8 is the centerpiece of the LX models. While the Magnum has drawn favorable comments from the automotive press, some Dodge dealers are worried about marketing a wagon without a full-sized family sedan.
Intrepid production ended last summer, and dealers have been pressing the automaker for a sedan.
The Dodge sedan will be the third derivative based on the LX platform. At least one other LX derivative is planned, said a Chrysler group insider. In Chrysler parlance, LX derivatives are defined as models with extensive sheet metal differences.
Meanwhile, the company is studying whether to develop a police package for one of the LX cars. Representatives of the California Highway Patrol and Michigan State Police have driven a car with the package, said Burke Brown, chief engineer for the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Magnum.
"It is a natural, isn't it? We'll talk about that in a while," said Brown, who was interviewed last month at a Chrysler press event in Palm Springs, Calif. The law enforcement agencies "have shown intense interest in what we are doing with the chassis."
While awd will be optional on the LX cars, he said neither agency has shown interest in that option.
3/8/2004 10:18:10 AM